Authorities Put The Brakes on $24 Million Cocaine Tyre Import

The AFP has charged four West Australians during an investigation into a transnational drug trafficking syndicate after 66 kilograms of cocaine – worth about $23.7 million ­‑ was seized in Perth.

Operation Dommeldange was launched late last month (June 2022) when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly found the cocaine hidden in four car tyres imported from Switzerland.

ABF officers at the Perth cargo facility detected anomalies when they x-rayed the air cargo consignment and further examination of the Mercedes-Benz performance wheels allegedly uncovered packages of white powder stuffed in behind the rims.

The consignment was transferred to the AFP and forensic specialists established there were 56 packages containing a total of about 66 kilograms of cocaine. The drugs were replaced with a harmless substance before the tyres were released for collection.

Police will allege the consignment was addressed to a Northbridge property but a person claiming to be the intended recipient instead arranged for a courier to deliver the tyres to a Nollamara residence last week (5 July 2022).

The consignment was stored in the garage for two days before a man and woman who live at the home, along with two other men, allegedly used a variety of tools and knives to cut apart the car tyres and access the black plastic-wrapped packages inside.

Cocaine retrieved from the tyres.
Xray of Tyres containing Cocaine.
Cocaine packages found in tyre.

AFP investigators, with the assistance of ABF officers, executed a search warrant at the Nollamara residence on Friday (8 July) and arrested the couple.

They also executed a search warrant at a nearby Balcatta home, where they arrested two male residents and allegedly seized parts of one tyre with a knife stuck in it.

AFP Western Command Detective Superintendent Graeme Marshall said organised crime syndicates used a never-ending variety of methods to try to smuggle large amounts of drugs into Australia without detection because it was such a lucrative business.

“This case is a warning to organised crime that Western Australia is not an easy target – the AFP is working closely with our partners to stop illicit drugs from reaching our communities and prosecute anyone who tries to profit at the public’s expense,” Detective Superintendent Marshall said.

“This is the second large importation of cocaine seized in WA in just two months. “There is a perception by some in the community that cocaine is a safe drug. It is not.”

Information and Images sourced from here.